EASTERN MESSAGE 2019 BY METROPOLITAN SOTIRIOS OF PISIDIA29 April 2019
Easter! “The Feast of Feasts and the Season of Seasons”! Tonight we celebrate the Resurrection! The Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ! That’s why our hearts are filled with such an exceptional joy! The faces radiate! The eyes shine! And the lips do not cease repeating the victorious paean: “Christ is Risen”!
One may wonder why our souls are filled with so much joy tonight? What is it that motivates the crowds of the faithful, men and women, young and old alike, to come to the Orthodox churches in order to light up their resurrection candle and to proclaim “Christ is Risen”? Even people, who do not go to church very often, feel the need to participate along with all believers in the joy of the Resurrection!
The human mind may not be able to explain this extraordinary phenomenon, but the human soul senses the rich benefits that the Resurrection of Christ has brought to the world.
The human soul was struck by severe, incurable, deadly diseases, and Christ, through His Holy Resurrection has healed it from all these painful diseases, which in a word are called “sins.”
Our soul was enslaved in its most ruthless enemy, the devil, but the Risen Christ has made it free from the bonds of this tyrant and has offered to all of us the freedom of the children of God!
The human soul was poisoned by the evil serpent, i.e. Satan, and fell into spiritual death by being cut off from the source of life, which is God. Yet, the Risen Christ breathed new life into it by offering eternal life!
Therefore, the soul of every Orthodox Christian rejoices over all the blessings the Resurrection of Christ has brought to us, just as a sick person rejoices when, after lying moribund at the hospital, exits perfectly healthy.
The human soul rejoices like a man who was kidnapped and, after paying the ransom given to him by a benefactor, he returns home free.
It rejoices like the daughter of Jairus, like the son of the widow of Nain, like Lazarus, who were dead and were resurrected by Christ! Really, can we imagine the joy their relatives felt when they saw them rise?
My beloved, this joy that has come to the whole world through the Cross and the Resurrection, is capable of eliminating all sorrows from our souls, all sadness as well as every regret of the difficult events we often face in our everyday life. Just as when the sun rises, darkness dissolves, so do the dark situations we live in are illuminated by the Light of our Lord’s Resurrection.
Since the glorious day of the Resurrection, the world has changed; whoever truly believes in the resurrected Christ has been united with Him through Holy Baptism and struggles to follow in His steps! Of course, the Orthodox believer still lives in the world, but whatever happens to him, he sees it under the light of the Resurrection; he sees it with another eye, with a clear vision, he sees it through the “mind of Christ”. Thus, the joy that Christ offers with His Resurrection, as He Himself said, “no one can take it away from us; neither poverty, nor sickness, nor abandonment and loneliness, nor injustice, not even death, which was defeated by Christ, because He “has crushed death by His death and has bestowed life to those who lay in the tomb.” This is why we heard tonight Saint John Chrysostom saying in his Resurrection Homily: “Let no one grieve over his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep over his sins, for pardon has shone from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the death of our Saviour has set us free”
My beloved, I wholeheartedly wish to all of you, the joy of the Resurrection to dominate your souls and to relieve you of any unpleasant situation.
Christ is Risen!